Side may miss Cosafa Cup tie

GATVOL: Bafana's Sipho Nkumane. Pic. Veli Nhlapo. 07/06/07. © Sowetan.
GATVOL: Bafana's Sipho Nkumane. Pic. Veli Nhlapo. 07/06/07. © Sowetan.

Sello Rabothata

Sello Rabothata

The Bafana Bafana technical staff is watching events carefully and if players called-up for national duty do not report in camp by 11am today, the team will be pulled out of the Cosafa Castle Cup semifinals scheduled for this weekend.

The national team's manager, Sipho Nkumane, yesterday said this was no idle threat as "there is a bigger picture to look at and reasons why these particular players have been called-up".

Bafana Bafana are billed to face Botswana in the second semifinal at 4pm after the Zambia and Mozambique clash at 2pm at Super Stadium in Atteridgeville on Saturday.

An obviously gatvol Nkumane said: "This is no threat. If those players do not report in Pretoria today then we are out of the competition. We know the repercussions of such a move, but we are prepared to go all the way and whatever punishment is meted out we will oblige."

Nkumane said only Lamontville Golden Arrows approached them to allow players selected from the club to report to camp later because of their Telkom Knockout game against Mamelodi Sundowns tonight.

He added that it was also said the game between Ajax Cape Town and Free State Stars could be postponed to allow the Ajax players to join up with Bafana.

"But, while that was also acceptable, we insist that we have all the selected players in camp, including those from Kaizer Chiefs. There is no way the coach will call up any other players as the selection has been made and we aim to stick with it," Nkumane said.

He also said on the 21 players called-up, only Orlando Pirates' left back, Innocent Mdledle has been added. Mdledle, who had been omitted because of injury, played for Pirates against Arrows at the weekend.

While Nkumane was fuming, the general manager: football at the Premier Soccer League, Andrew Dipela said: "This matter now needs political intervention from the hierachy of both parties, the league and Safa to sort out.

"I am only enforcing the rules and since this is not a Fifa recognised fixture, there is nothing I can do.

"Anyway it is not the PSL that releases players, it is the clubs. Safa should be the ones to give the national coach the dynamics of the situation that we find ourselves in."

He said it could get worse if Bafana were to progress to the final of this competition, especially if it were to be played outside the country. At the time of going to press a joint liaison committee meeting to sort out the problem was said to be still deliberating.